If you have ever been admitted to a hospital as a patient, you probably received medications while you were there. Did you ever wonder where these medicines came from or how they got there? And how can you tell if you received the correct medicine? For instance, some medicines may not look exactly like the prescription you have at home or your doctor may have prescribed something new that you don’t normally take.
The good news is that the medicine you take while in a hospital has been brought to you by the medication experts—pharmacists. Pharmacists who work in hospitals and health systems make sure that patients get the right medication, at the right dose, at the right time.
Pharmacists work throughout the hospital. For example, some hospital pharmacists work right on the patient-care floors as well as in a centralized pharmacy. And they do many things to keep you safe. Pharmacists enter doctors’ orders into a powerful computer that helps them make sure the prescribed medication won’t interact with other medications you may be taking.
Pharmacists also go on “rounds” with the physicians, nurses, and medical residents who directly care for the patients. As members of this important healthcare team, pharmacists monitor patients’ medication therapies as well as laboratory and test results. And they make recommendations to the team about the best medications for each patient. Today, you’ll find pharmacists on many intensive care unit (ICU) teams helping to manage complex drug therapies.
So, if you or a loved one is ever in the hospital and have questions about your medications, ask to speak with the pharmacist. We can help you to understand complicated drug therapies, explain why certain laboratory tests are required, and talk to you about the risks and benefits of your medications. We’re here for you, so just ask!
By Kathy Crea, Pharm.D., BCPS, Patient and Medication Safety Coordinator, Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, OH